Gisele Bundchen to retire from the catwalk: 10 facts about the supermodel

Gisele Bundchen, one of the world's most successful supermodels of all time, is set to take her last strut down the catwalk next month during the Sao Paulo Fashion Week.

Her sister and representative Patricia has confirmed that the 34-year-old model will be retiring: “Gisele will continue working on special projects and also give more time to her No. 1 priority: her family".

Before she walks off the fashion runway for good, here are 10 things to know about the iconic supermodel:

1. She is a sixth-generation Brazilian of German descentBundchen was born in the southern part of Brazil in a municipality called Horizontina. Although she calls Brazil home, her mother and father, a bank clerk pensioner and a university professor, are both of German descent.

2. She's a fraternal twinShe has five sisters - Raquel, Graziela, Gabriela, Rafaela and  Patrícia, who is her fraternal twin and younger by five minutes.

3. She's multilingualPortuguese is her mother-tongue, but she can also speak Spanish, English and Italian, with a bit of German on the side.

4. She didn't win her first modelling competition... or her secondAfter her mother pestered her to try modelling, Bundchen was discovered by the Elite modelling agency at a shopping mall in 1993.

Afterwards, she participated in a national contest, the Elite Look of the Year, where she came in as runner-up. She later placed fourth in the Elite Model Look world contest.

Despite not winning any of these competitions, Bundchen moved to Sao Paulo at the tender age of 14 to launch her modelling career. By 1996, she had her first modelling break at New York City's Fashion Week.

5. She's had an impressive string of boyfriendsGiven her striking good looks, it's no surprise that Bundchen has dated men like polo player Rico Mansur, Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro, American surfer Kelly Slater and American A-list star Leonardo DiCaprio.

Now, she has settled down with 37-year-old New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The couple have two children together, a son Benjamin, five, and a daughter Vivian, three.

Forbes named the couple the World's Highest Paid Celebrity couple in 2011, beating Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and even Beyonce and Jay-Z.

6. She's very much into philanthropy Bundchen is a supporter of numerous charities and causes. She has donated US$150,000 (S$208,570) to Brazil's Zero Hunger Program in 2003, created a necklace that was sold to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Hospital in their fight against cancer in 2003, and launched Projeto Água Limpa (Clean Water Project) in her hometown of Horizontina in 2010.

She became the face of American Express Red in 2006 to help support Africa's HIV/Aids victims.

The model was even designated Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme in 2009. Her passion towards environmental protection is demonstrated right in her home in Los Angeles, where she and Brady use several systems that reduce energy consumption when it comes to light, water and recycling. They grow their own vegetables, and use household appliances that are all recovered and sustainable products.

7. She's been the "richest model in the world"Modelling for names such as Chanel, Michael Kors, Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino, appearing on countless magazine covers like Vogue, Sports Illustrated, Time magazine, Vanity Fair, Marie Claire and GQ, as well as earning millions from her shoe line with Ipanema, it's no wonder that the Brazilian beauty was named World's top-earning model for five consecutive years by Forbes (2007-2011), and then ranked eighth of 10 in Forbes' Entertainment's Highest-Paid Women in 2012.

8. She's an occasional actress and producerBündchen has had supporting roles in films like Taxi (2004) with Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon, and The Devil Wears Prada (2006) with Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep. However, she turned down a role in Charlie's Angels (2000) due to her packed schedule. 

She has also produced her own TV series, Gisele & The Green Team (2010-2011),  a show about "a group of teenage girls who lead double lives as supermodels and environmental heroes".

9. She invented the "horse walk"The model introduced a new style of walking down the runway. Dubbed the "horse walk", the stride involves a stomping movement created when a model raises her knees up high and kicks her feet out in front.

10. She has many hobbiesOutside of modelling, Bundchen enjoys horseback riding, walking her dogs in the park, beach volleyball, surfing, karaoke, and even training on the trapeze.

Sources: allwomenstalk.com, giselebundchenfansite.blogspot.sg, biography.com